Yhan Leal walks the line with light feet. The Colombian born, now Bellingen based singer songwriter dedicates his waking hours to honing his artistic craft. After 20 years of performing Yhan, a truly gifted guitarist and angelic singer, has found his musical identity. Yhan Leal represents a new direction of Folk.
When did you settle in the Bellingen Shire?
I’m sure this is my 6th year, It’s flown by but I’ve had had such a wondrous time here.
- Can you describe your earlier life in Colombia?
Well I was only in Colombia until age 5 so the memories are very dreamlike, enormous white houses, wild rivers, and I remember leaving for Australia in a confused state in the middle of the night.
- Have you always had music in your life?
Yes, my mother sang to me, spanish love songs and nursery rhymes. My three older brothers had very diverse taste in music, from Opera to Metal, and we always had the record player going.
Are you musically trained?
Yes, I started in a Classic Guitar school at age eight for a few years then started learning electric guitar at my local music shop, I loved hanging around in that shop, ended up teaching there myself.
I also started singing pop songs naturally with the guitar at age 8, then took singing lessons at around 17 for many years. I loved learning everything I could about music, I bought countless books and videos and had many teachers, but my high school music teacher will always be my most revered.
Would you describe your music as ‘folk’ based?
Yes, folk means ‘people’ and my ideas for songs are always about the experience of the individual. Intimacy and an acoustic guitar is also very folk, but I also embrace modern sounds like samples and effects, so I call my genre ‘modern folk’.
You can hear those kind of sounds on my new single and video ‘Up On The Mountain.’(premiered on Triple J Monday October 2nd)
- You are performing at the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival. Is this the first year you have performed for this festival? Can you describe what you are expecting?
Yes this is my first time performing at the festival, I’m excited to play to an audience who appreciate that less is more! I’m going to play as stripped back as possible but give my songs everything I’ve got.
- Have you got any exciting plans for your music into the future?
Yes, I will be launching a brand new album this November 11 at the Bellingen Memorial Hall. I’ll be performing the entire album and recreating it;s production with the support of mostly local musicians, including an electronic score. Tix are on sale now via my website www.yhanleal.com and from Roots Records in Bellingen.
I also have a bunch more shows
Sep 22 Anchors Wharf Urunga, NSW
Oct 11 Element Bar Coffs Harbour, NSW
Oct 13 Surf Street Coffs Harbour, NSW
Oct 27 Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival Dorrigo, NSW
Oct 29 Tapp Bar, Port Panthers Sydney, NSW
Nov 03 Twilight Food Market Coffs Harbour, NSW
Nov 11 Bellingen Memorial Hall Bellingen, NSW
Dec 01 Yamba Bowling Club Yamba, NSW
Dec 05 Sea Breeze Beach Hotel Hat Head, NSW
Described as “the cover girl for self-made, heart-warming, gut-vomiting indie chicks” (Village Voice USA), alternative singer/songwriter Diana Anaid returns with the highly anticipated catchy 1st single Can’t Apologise from the Forthcoming album My Queen, produced by Steve James (Screaming Jets/Skunkhour/Sex Pistols).
The video clip for Can’t Apologise was directed by Rock N Roll Hall of Fame recipient Nick Egan (Oasis, Duran Duran) and shot on location in Los Angeles at Topanga Canyon.
The Video was premiered by TheMusic in August - here
The Album My Queen is out September 15 – preview here
Then Diana heads out on Tour Presented by ‘TheMusic’ to support the release with dates including-
Sunday 17th September Nimbin Roots Fest (DUO) . 2.30pm Nimbin Bush Theatre stage & 9pm Phoenix Rising Cafe stage
Thursday 12th October The Tivoli, Brisbane Opening for Adam and the Ants
Friday 13th October Enmore Theatre, Sydney Opening for Adam and the Ants
Sunday 15th October The Palais Theatre, Melbourne Opening for Adam and the Ants
Monday 16th October Metropolis, Fremantle Opening for Adam and the Ants
Sunday 22nd October Cruelty Free Festival Sydney Headline act (SOLO)
Nov Wed 1st- Fri 3rd Australian Music Week Cronulla Sydney BAND SHOWCASE SET (TRIO)
Nov Sun 12th World Vegan Day Melbourne Headline act (SOLO)
Diana Recently spoke to Foghorn Media about the new album, her early influences and what inspires her
This album of thoughtfully chosen songs was written during a brief hiatus from the industry, time that I spent reconnecting with family and with my love of writing. The first song Into Your Heart speaks of my never-ending love for my transgender sister and my wish for a more compassionate world for her. This is my first real falsetto attempt since 1999’s Blues Singer.”
First single “’Can’t Apologise’ relates to the dilemma faced by friends tempted to take it to the next level. What happens when he/she gets with someone else, sacrificing both the relationship and the friendship? How DO you have your cake and eat it too??”
Tell us about the moment you decided to become a singer- Having creative older siblings I was encouraged to listen to different styles of music and was always singing and picking up different instruments. What did your family have to say about it? My dad was supa supportive, even buying me my first guitar- although he did hock it a week later.
What inspired you to become an artist and who are your early influences? Inspired by the cathartic nature of music, lyrical songwriting in particular, it was the poets of the 20th century who influenced me the most; Loeonard Cohan, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan.
Your bio mentions that you took a lot of lyrical inspiration from your sisters transgender journey, can you tell us a little more about that? More than half of the songs on My Queen are dedicated or inspired by her recent inspiring transformation
What current Australian(or Local) acts inspire you and why? What international acts?-Sia is a fantastic inspirational act to me, as are sooo many Australian artists like Courtney Barnett, The Waifs and John Butler. International acts like Lily Allen, Lorde and Patti Smith.
Fave film? I love watching comedy and Australian made movies.
Fave Book? The Thesauraus, followed closely by the dictionary, but I pretty much LOVE the thesaurus.
Fave place? Melbourne; funky cafes with great food, awesome venues, can’t get enough.
Fave animal or pet? I love wild animals, wildlife and even feral city critters. I always have some sort of connection with the animals in the area where I am touring; We saved a possums life that was stuck under our car, hurridly rushing it to the Bondi vet before it closed at 9pm, and just missing the start of our gig down the road. I was also offered a miniature horse in Tasmania, with full intention to bring it back on the plane as my seeing-eye-horse
Diana’s career highlights include US Billboard Top 40 placement, 5 ARIA nominations, 2 inclusions in Triple J’s Hottest 100 and sets at the BDO, Falls, Vans Warped, Woodford and Byron Blues Fest.
Anaid is a stand-out musician who “continues delivering authentic, original music” (Kathy McCabe)”,
and is a pioneer of a “Different kind of girl power” (Music Network)
“There’s only one Diana Anaid”. (Iain Sheddon)